The upcoming year marks a major passage for me. My friends have started asking how I want to celebrate the big “4-0”. And while I concur with the saying “age is just a number,” I’m also aware that marking my years on Earth, in this body and mind, is a valuable tool in the process of self-discovery.
For me and, I imagine, many women, aging becomes evident first in our changing physicality. Crow’s feet around my eyes have emerged recently. They show up when I smile, smirk and laugh, and linger indefinitely. My body is a little rounder and thicker than before. As a woman of a certain age, I wrestle with accepting my visage as it grows further away from media-perpetuated beauty standards, and how far I’m willing to go to meet those standards.
I’m aware that what’s happening on the outside is a reflection of what’s happening inside. That means keeping a closer watch on any changes, particularly those that might indicate the hereditary condition for which I am predisposed.
Emotionally and spiritually, the shifts have been positive. As my connection to inner wisdom and authenticity grows, I care less about what people think about me. Though I have a ways to go, I’m more likely to admit my mistakes and forgive others for theirs. It’s as if my ego has wised up, too, and has become more adept at knowing when not to sweat the small stuff.
Taking the time to get to know ourselves at each phase of life is critical to aging with passion and purpose. We must ask ourselves, “What choices can I make now that will support feeling, looking and being the most exuberant, vital version of me?”
But as we know, transitions aren’t easy. I’ve traded in high-intensity, calorie-burning workouts for more meditative, stress-busting activities like hatha yoga and jogging… but only after I pulled out my back. Getting to sleep and waking up early is what suits my temperament and energy levels, despite how much I love staying up to watch SNL. And it ain’t easy turning down red velvet cupcakes, even though I feel my best when I’m living on spinach, bell peppers and quinoa.
I’m beyond lucky to have access to a network of passionate and enlightened, integrative doctors and other healing and wellness professionals to help me through the process. With the support of the Natural Awakenings community, I have the confidence to envision a comprehensive, integrative and personalized health plan that meets my physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Each month I learn something—a new exercise trend, research findings on supplements, herbs and oils, a fresh perspective from an inspired, local teacher. In each of these practices and processes I find the knowledge and empowerment to create and maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit now and in the years to come.
And for that, no matter my age, I am eternally grateful.
Together we are “Making the Awakening” in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Karen G. Meshkov, Publisher